ALLAN Johnston insists Dunfermline are ‘miles better’ than the meagre points return that sees them sit third from bottom in the Championship.
But the Pars boss admits they will have to make massive improvements in defence if they are to prove he is right to believe they have the quality to push up the league.
Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Falkirk was the sixth time the Fifers have been beaten in the opening round of fixtures.
With just two wins – against bottom side St Mirren and second-bottom Dumbarton – and a draw against seventh-placed Ayr United, the League One champions have seemingly struggled to adapt to life in the second tier.
However, Johnston believes there are small margins at play and has urged his team to clean up their act defensively, where their 18 goals against is the worst in the division.
Asked about their record of seven points from nine games, he said: “We are miles better than that. But to give ourselves a chance we cannot afford to lose cheap goals, so that is what we need to work on.
“Over the piece, the majority of the games have been really tight. I don’t think anybody has battered us.
“We have been involved in the majority of the games and we just need to find that system or that wee bit of confidence to go on and win these games.
“It is just that moment of switching off. That wee bit of quality can hurt you at any time, so you’ve always got to be switched on.”
Meanwhile, Dunfermline striker Farid El Alagui has bagged the IRN-BRU Cup Golden Balls Award for his unconventional ‘hat-trick’ in the 2-1 win over Queen’s Park.
The former Falkirk and Hibs marksman netted a double for the Pars before scoring at the wrong end to set up a nervy finale to the tie.
The 31-year-old said: “That was the first own goal I’ve scored in my career and the first time I’ve scored all three goals in a game too.
“I got a bit of stick from the lads after the game so I hope I can score another hat-trick in the next round – but this time at the right end of the park.”
El Alagui beat St Mirren’s Stevie Mallan, Greg Draper from The New Saints and Alloa’ Greig Spence in the fans’ poll for the award.